Algonquin Streets Superintendent Al Mozola watches the weather forecasts for winter storm warnings just like everyone else.
Only he has to prepare for the worst.
“We have to expect the worse. We prepare the same for every storm,” Mozola said. “The weather is so unpredictable. It’s better to be prepared than unprepared.”
The area avoided a major snowfall last week but ended up with about two inches of snow. Community Unit School District 300 closed schools in preparation for the storm that never materialized. This week, the Algonquin area is under a snowstorm watch from Tuesday afternoon through the evening. The National Weather Service is predicting six to eight inches.
Monday, crews were deicing Algonquin’s streets with salt grind and beet juice to make plowing easier Tuesday morning, Mozola said. The mixture smells like caramel, he said. Algonquin started making its own salt grind this year, he said.
Filling a snow truck with salt takes about three hours, he said. The village has ordered 800 tons of salt and should be all set for the rest of the season, Mozola said.
What takes the most time is emptying the trucks and cleaning them down so the salt doesn’t cause any damage to the truck. Whether or not it’s a big snow event, the trucks are filled and ready to go then have to be cleaned out, he said.
It can seem “like a futile effort but an effort that is worth it to provide good service to our residents,” Mozola said.
Algonquin has 16 snowplow routes that can often be jammed with traffic and drivers have to deal with construction. Mozola said crews try to get on the roads before rush hour but can get stuck in traffic.
Drivers should give snowplows some room and avoid getting in the way of trucks, Mozola said. It would help a lot, he said.